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ויקחו אליך שמן זית זך כתית למאור

And they shall take for you pure, pressed olive for illumination. (27:20)

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The oil used for the Menorah had to be absolutely pure from the very beginning (not filtered). Therefore, the oil was made by pressing each olive gently, until only one drop of pure oil emerged. The remaining oil in the olive came out through crushing and was used for the Meal-offering. The Alter, zl, m’Kelm applies the word kassis, pressed, as a metaphor to describe the talmid chacham, Torah scholar, who “pounds” the ground, walking from place to place to study Torah wherever it is available. He quotes Chazal (Bava Basra 8a), “These are the talmidei chachamim who pound their feet from city to city, province to province (in search of the opportunity) to learn Torah.” Kitus raglayim, pounding one’s feet, is a much stronger term than halichah, walking. Through such determination and sacrifice, one merits the enduring illumination of Torah.

The Alter derives a powerful lesson from here. Hashem certainly created man in total perfection. He is complete with: his faculties and the ability to function to perfection; a wise heart with its ability to understand, to perceive, to contemplate. All is prepared for man to go into action, but he is missing something: he requires the key to put everything into motion. This is very much like a palace filled with every form of treasure, from gold and silver, to diamonds, precious jewels and beautiful works of art. There is, however, one problem: no one has the key to the door. Every door and window is sealed shut. Without a key, the fortune is of no value, because it is inaccessible.

A person is created with unlimited spiritual potential, but, if the lev, heart, is atum, sealed, what good is all the potential? This is what is termed, arlas ha’lev, an uncircumcised heart. An obstruction does not permit the person to function at his maximum – and, in many instances, even at his minimum. The key to open all the doors is yiraas Shomayim, fear of Heaven. The more one allows his yiraas Shomayim to penetrate his heart, his life, the sooner his heart will become unsealed, the quicker his entire life will change. He will be able to see, to hear, to understand, to deliberate, and, above all, to serve Hashem according to Divine intention for his creation.

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